Fifty Shades of God

Fifty Shades of God February 27, 2015


The above graphic came to my attention on Facebook. I appreciate attempts to introduce nuance into discussions of beliefs and views. The above does better than the “Dawkins Scale.” But the color coding doesn’t seem like it is going to be useful. Can you imagine the conversations? “You’re indigo on the existence of God? As an olive drab, I simply can’t understand how you can think that way! But at least you aren’t one of those oranges…” And why are all forms of Deism the same color? Or are they different, and this is just like that dress that is blue and black but looks white and gold to some people, some of the time?

But seriously, it seems to me that there are still too many views – pantheism, panentheism, and polytheism – that simply don’t appear on the chart at all. Or maybe they’re there and I can’t see them because they are in the infrared and ultraviolet ranges?


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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Darach Conneely

    Was Pol Pot ultra violent?

  • TomS

    Does the writer think of “gnostic” as something like “certain knowledge”?

  • Even though this scale of thinking is a bit ‘poppish,’ (maybe even tongue in cheek?) it
    seems to show more depth than Dale Tuggy’s article on Marcus Borg that you
    referred to on the 26th. I read Tuggy’s analysis and was disappointed. In the
    past Tuggy has shown very careful nuances in the Early Church Fathers, seeking
    to demonstrate that they were ‘unitarian,’ not ‘trinitarian’ about God’s
    ultimate nature, not like the later Creeds claim.

    To dismiss Borg’s view of God as “atheistic” seems rather
    superficial. (Keep in mind, that in the past, when reading Borg and going to a
    Borg conference, I did at times wonder if Borg was only an atheist using
    religious language! But I tended to give him the benefit of the doubt since he
    claimed to the contrary.

    So, I do think that this nuanced chart shows promise.

    But it leaves out not only panentheist and pantheist, but
    also ‘seeking agnostic’—I don’t know but I keep seeking to know.

    And it leaves out the deistic/liberal Christian view of
    someone like Thomas Jefferson or Thomas Paine who both thought God was
    different from creedal Christianity, but who did think God was involved in
    justice in the world—a ‘Justice/Rights Deist’?

    And there is my own position, ‘theistic seeker’:-)

  • Alan Christensen

    I’m not sure where I fit on this scale. I believe pretty strongly that God exists and is involved in the world, but I try to maintain enough humility to allow that some of my beliefs about God could be wrong. What color is that?

    • Ellen K.

      That scale doesn’t seem to allow for that humility.

    • Alice

      I’m similar but on the other end of the spectrum in that I generally don’t believe in gods and certainly don’t believe in the Abrahamic god, but I would change my mind if there were evidence.

    • Salmon or coral, depending on exactly how you nuance it. 😉

  • Ellen K.

    Both this scale and and the Dawkins one seem to take the definition of what God is as a given. The difference between a theist and a deist seems to be in God’s involvement, not God’s nature. (That is, what we believe about God’s involvement.)

    Depending on the view of God I consider, on that scale I’m either a gnostic theist, a gnostic positive atheist, or somewhere in the agnostic range that’s not quite captured by the choices there.

    It also doesn’t allow for an “I’m not sure what I think” or “sometimes it seems reasonable, sometimes not”. Which is why none of the “agnostic” choices fit my views where I’m in the agnostic range.

  • notmike64

    i am a polly wag I believe my god exists solely for me

  • Uncouth Angel

    I know far too many people who describe themselves as agnostic, but who seem to be Weak Atheists from the description on this list.

  • Calelari

    I’d need to know which God in particular before I could try to pinpoint where on the scale…